QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
05/19/12 How many people in history have already partaken of the emblems?
05/13/12 Why does the Watchtower depict the anointed as only old people?
05/04/12 Did the heavenly resurrection begin in 1918?
05/02/12 When I transform, will I be instantly transported to the presence of the Father?
05/01/12 In Matthew 24:49, what does it mean to "beat his fellow slaves?"
On May 19, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“How many people in history have partaken of the emblems? How many anointed are there now? Have you been counting? When can we know if all the anointed has partaken of their heavenly position with our father?”
To the author, we thank you for posting your questions. As a general answer to your questions, we direct you to the Apostle Paul’s words:
“You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus. Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.”
– Galatians 3:26-29
Here we are told that ALL who belong to Christ are sons of God. We gain that privileged relationship through our faith. There is no distinctions in the Christian congregation such that some are consider slaves and some considered sons. We are ALL Abraham’s seed. When we recognize and have faith in those words, we receive our anointing.
We know many of our brothers are having trouble with that concept. They are stuck on the idea that only 144,000 are sons of God and the remaining 7 million of us are only friends of God and subjects of the Kingdom. We have posted several articles that establish the sonship of every member of the Christian congregation under the section entitled Building Up the Brotherhood.
And we are finding that our most recent series of articles entitled The Cherished Earthly Hope is having a significant impact on our brothers who are having trouble understanding their sonship. We encourage you to read that series for further clarification of the hope held out to members of the Christian congregation.
Really, when we understand the truth that we are ALL sons of God, how can we count the number? And why count the number? In truth, the only number that is relevant is the number that are NOT partaking. Those are the ones who need the kingdom message the most.
Our suggestion is that you not worry about numbers. Concern yourself with people. Make it your mission to share the Kingdom message that we are ALL children of God. That is the good news of the Kingdom.
We hope we have adequately answered your questions. If not, please feel free to write again.
On May 13, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“I studied the Watchtower for the week, and after I was done I read next week's study. And on page 22 it was only old anointed depicted. I was sorry and could not attend the meeting. I do not understand why young anointed are not depicted. But as a consolation, I know that Jesus loves me. I will quote the truth: Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
As always, we thank the author for posting the inquiry. We have heard from others who have a similar reaction to the picture. And we share in that disappointment. We commented on why we suspect this problem exists in our article Why Are Older Anointed Reluctant to Recognize the Younger Anointed? If you have not read it, you may wish to.
But whatever the reason, to a child of God, it matters little. We know who we are because “the spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:16) We do not need the witness of men. While we would love the support of our older brothers, if they withhold their support, they will have to answer for that to the Father. (Matthew 25:40)
We are hoping, by way of this website, to move the Society to correct this gross error before the Father’s patience is exhausted. We ask that you stand firm in your hope and not be ashamed of it. Perhaps your faith will move others to examine their own relationship with the Father and discover they, too, are children of God. You may find our new series The Cherished Earthly Hope helpful in spreading this good news.
We wish you the very best.
On May 4, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“I have read that the heavenly resurrection probably began in 1918, the last trumpet must be blown in 1918, read 1 Corinthians 15:51,52. But Paul says in verse 51 "we shall all be changed" verse 52 "in an instant in a moment during the last trumpet." I can clearly see that I have not been transformed, and it is strange because the trumpet is blown in 1918, but in 1918, I was not even born. But Paul said, verse 52 "the dead shall be raised .. and we shall be changed.” Is it possible when Jesus comes and blows the trumpet Matthew 24:31 time in the future, that all the dead are raised up in an instant and we who live are being changed in an instant, and together we all meet Jesus in the air. What do you think?”
While we thank the author for visiting the site and posting the question, as the above introduction explains, we do not answer questions having to do with the interpretation or timing of Biblical prophesy. There are various reasons for taking this position.
First, our purpose here is to help our brothers and sisters to recognize that the heavenly calling is held out to all who seek a relationship with the Father, and to help all such sons and daughters of God make their calling sure. We have no interest in engaging in various types of eschatological speculations. For it is truly as Jesus said:
“Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.”
- Matthew 24:36
So why waste our valuable time speculating about something that we have already been told we cannot know?
Second, when the end comes, how the end comes, what type of end comes are matters of little consequence to a faith son of God. When we are sure in our hope, we are spiritually invincible. Nothing can separate us from the Father’s love – not the end of the world, not the end of the system, not even the end of our own lives. So we rest assured in our relationship and focus on helping others to solidify their own relationship with the Father. We are absolutely confident that whatever occurs, whenever it occurs, all faith sons will be found on the favorable side of events.
“Now we know that God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God, those who are the ones called according to his purpose.”
– Romans 8:28
Third, we answer questions that pertain to things we have published here on the website. We have never speculated about what did or did not occur in 1918, so we have no comment on that matter. We know that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has made several such comments. We, therefore, suggest the author direct their question to the Society, the Governing Body and/or the Writing Department for clarification of those statements.
We mean no disrespect to the author. We believe you are sincere in your inquiry and in your desire to gain knowledge and understanding. We are, however, concerned that your area of inquiry may cause you to take your focus off the Kingdom and your role as an Ambassador Substituting for Christ. There is much work to do. Many hungering and thirsting souls need the assistance of persons such as yourself, who have already accepted the heavenly calling, to understand their own relationship with the Father and to pursue it. You can do much good for the Kingdom in that regard. We pray that you consider these words.
On May 2, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“As I understand it, the angels see Jehovah God when they gather in front of him, read the Job book. So when Jesus comes, he will blow the trumpet and I will be transformed in an instant in a moment. I become a spirit creature, read Matthew 24. I go straight to heaven and get to meet Jehovah God, my father. I have understood it wrong?”
To answer your question directly, yes, dear brother, based on everything we have been privileged to learn, we believe your understanding is wrong. First, the book of Job does not mention the presence of recently resurrected men standing before the Father. This account refers to a time in the far distant past, long before Christ invited us to follow him. The ‘sons of God’ referred to in Job are indeed spirit beings, but they are a different order of sons than are the sons of men. So it does not provide instruction as to your question. Second, we have read the 24th chapter of Matthew several times and nowhere in that chapter do we see anything telling us that we instantly become spirit creatures and are immediately led to the Father. If we have missed something in that chapter, please write us again and point out what you are referring to.
In the meantime, we will respond to the rest of your question. We agree that when the time comes for you to be released from the body, you will be transformed into another body – an incorruptible body, according to 1 Corinthians 15:52. But that is not a spirit body. There is a great difference between the two. The incorruptible body we will be given at that time is similar to the one Jesus had after his resurrection. If you read carefully the scriptural references to his appearances after his resurrection, you will note that each time, he appeared a little different. He was going through the transformations “from glory to glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) When he completed his glorification, he attained a spirit body and was no longer visible. As a perfect man, Jesus translated rather quickly – 40 days. Our own individual transformations will take much, much longer.
Think about it. What transformative power do you suppose human death has? Do you believe that merely exiting the physical body transforms you into a perfected spirit qualified to stand in the very presence of the greatest personality in the universe? Unless and until we have mastered our personalities in the perfection of love as did Jesus Christ, and ‘become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48), we will not be granted that audience. I doubt that any of us can say we have achieved that level of personality perfection.
But this is not a negative. In the many abodes of the Father’s house (John 14:2), we will have the opportunity to correct all of our personality flaws and continue to grow in spiritual stature. In addition to perfecting our personalities, there will be many more things to do and learn. Do you suppose the language spoken in the heavens is English? Do you not understand that there are hierarchies and protocols in the heavens that we will need to understand before we can be a part of them? Do you not know that we will be exposed to new types of spirit beings, different types of heavenly places, unimagined visuals, and heretofore incomprehensible concepts and ideas?
“But just as it is written: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
Brother, do not shortchange and underestimate the vastness of the Father and his universe by relying on the elementary doctrines given to lowly man in his most imperfect state. The problem lies in mankind’s general lack of appreciation for the sophistication and complexity of the heavens, and the grandeur of the Father. Jesus understood that most of us are not capable of comprehending spiritual things, so there were many things he could not explain in detail.
“I have many things yet to say to you, but you are not able to bear them at present.”
– John 16:12
The apostles who wrote the letters that eventually made their way into the Bible canon, likewise gave answers regarding spiritual and heavenly things in shorthand form. But that is to be expected. Think of it like this: When a young child asks where babies come from, a wise parent does not begin to describe in detail the anatomy and the biological processes. Instead, he gives a short summary expressing the ultimate outcome in a way that the child’s mind can grasp. For instance, such a parent might say that babies grow in the mother’s belly and when its ready, it comes out. That explanation is accurate and might be sufficient for a young child. But when the child grows older, more detail can be added to the story until the child has grown to a stature sufficient to understand the complete biological process. It is similar for us who are spiritual babes.
When Jesus explained heavenly things, he gave ultimate outcomes, not a detailed explanation of the entire process of spiritualization. Even Paul, who was apparently privy to some heavenly concepts, hesitated to give detailed explanations for what he saw, even hesitating to admit that it was he who had the experience:
“I have to boast. It is not beneficial; but I shall pass on to supernatural visions and revelations of [the] Lord. I know a man in union with Christ who, fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know; God knows—was caught away as such to the third heaven. Yes, I know such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know, God knows— that he was caught away into paradise and heard unutterable words which it is not lawful for a man to speak. Over such a man I will boast, but I will not boast over myself, except as respects [my] weaknesses. For if I ever do want to boast, I shall not be unreasonable, for I shall say the truth. But I abstain, in order that no one should put to my credit more than what he sees I am or he hears from me, just because of the excess of the revelations.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:1-7
Nevertheless, what was written is accurate; it is just not in detailed form. Jesus told us that we would be led to all truth by means of the spirit of truth after his resurrection.
“However, when that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things coming.”
– John 16:13
This promise applies, not only to first century Christians, but to all of us down to this day. The spirit of truth works with all the children of God. And to those of us who want to know more, the spirit of truth will lead us to as much of it as we can comprehend. As for the writers here, we have been given much, but like the apostle Paul, we are restrained as to what we can present here. That is why we encourage everyone who is interested to make their desire for more knowledge and understanding a matter of diligent and repeated prayer. When you do, you will not need to be asking anyone; the spirit will teach you.
“And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.”
– 1 John 2:27
Having said all of this, the bottom line is that the details do not matter. What is will be. Our belief in or acceptance of the Father’s plans do not effect those plans. If we have been faithful, when we are released from our bodies, we will know for a certainty whether we will be granted immediate audience with the Father. It is not imperative that we know the details before our release. Knowledge of it adds beauty and color to our worship, but it does not affect its value before God.
But, brother, you need not believe what we have written here. You only need to focus on doing the will of the Father, being ambassadors for the Kingdom substituting for Christ. All other things will be added. (Matthew 6:33)
Finally, we want to say that of all the things you wrote, the most encouraging to us is that you recognize that you are a son of God and that your destiny is in the heavens. You are already way ahead of so many of our brothers. We pray that you continue on your path, keep on praying, keep on seeking, keep on asking (Matthew 7:7), and you will eventually be led ‘into all truth.'
On May 1, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“It's something I do not understand, read Matthew 24:49. What does it mean to beat his fellow slaves? and what it means to eat and drink with the drinkers?”
To the author, thank you for this inquiry and the opportunity to discuss this very important scriptural reference. There has been so many misunderstandings and misstatements about what this scripture means. We feel honored to defend the teaching of Jesus Christ in this matter. The scripture you refer to says:
“and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards”
– Matthew 24:49
It is part of a discourse by Jesus where he responds to a question from this disciples:
“Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”
– Matthew 24:3
In response, Jesus tells them many things to look for and warned them to keep on the watch because the “Son of man” would arrive at a time when they are not expecting him. (Matthew 24:4-44)
Then, Jesus used a parable about not tiring out, which includes the scriptural reference you are concerned with. As a preliminary matter, please understand that thisis not a prophesy. It is a parable. It is not a statement about what will occur in the future. It is an example of two different attitudes that might arise as we wait for the master’s return. Here is the first attitude:
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.”
– Matthew 24:45-47
And here is the second attitude:
“But if ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where [his] weeping and the gnashing of [his] teeth will be.” – Matthew 24:48-51
In the parallel scripture in Luke, we learn that the apostle Peter asked a question that is not contained in Matthew’s account:
“Then Peter said: “Lord, are you saying this illustration to us or also to all?” And the Lord said: “Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time?”
– Luke 12:41-42
And in the parallel scripture in Mark, we learn the answer:
“But what I say to you I say to all, Keep on the watch.”
– Mark 13:37
So we learn from this parable that it is possible that some of Jesus’ disciples would be faithfully at work caring for the household; and that some, who began faithful, could grow impatient and instead of caring for the household, would began beating them into submission.
It reminds us of the illustration of a babysitter who was entrusted with caring for a child. The sitter did well at first, but as the night grew on and the parents were delayed, the sitter grew tired and impatient for the parent’s return. When the child became restless and started crying, instead of checking for a wet diaper, providing food or drink, cuddling the child, or seeking some way to comfort the child, the sitter began yelling and eventually beating the child in an effort to ‘shut him up.’ To the sitter, he had worked all night and done enough. It was time for the parents to come home and care for their own child. All he could see to do was to use physical force to beat the child to submission.
In Jesus’ parable, the once faithful slave went so far as to “eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards.” This was not a case of sharing a meal with sinners in an effort to preach the good news as Jesus often did; but of ‘partying’ and having a sharing with persons who had no intention of repenting – confirmed drunkards.
Thus, we believe the message of the parable is: Don’t grow tired of doing the work Jesus set out for us to do. Don’t turn our backs and become involved in matters that detract and distract from the Kingdom message. Don’t reject the sincere cries for help from our brothers. Don’t fail to provide comfort to one another. And don’t become impatient with one another.
Overall, the parable is telling us to continuing providing spiritual food to one another at the proper time (Matthew 24:45) which is the uplifting message of the Kingdom as Jesus’ taught it – the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The admonition is not for just a few of us. ‘What he says, he says to us all.’ (Mark 13:37)